This blog is part of a series about the operations pain points that many organizations face as they tackle digital transformation and change management. Our experts provide insights and recommendations based on their decades of hands-on experience and tackle some of the most pressing business and technology pain points.
Remote workforce. Video legal proceedings. Online education. Virtual healthcare. Curbside delivery.
These are all examples of digital transformations, and the above became familiar and engrained in everyday life as the COVID-19 pandemic hastened organizations to evolve and adjust or cease operations. Organizations pushed themselves to innovate to retain customers and revenue, serve clients, and remain relevant in the market. Businesses that failed to transform during the pandemic—or were too slow to do so—suffered greatly and many of them no longer exist.
While digital transformation is often a reaction to a changing environment, keeping a future-centric mindset will make it easier to plan for the next transformation.
Is transformation ever done?
Well…no. Organizations today are well-versed in changing goals and projects to adjust to market needs. However, doing this too often before real change can take hold or without effective foresight and planning can be a recipe for employee turnover and unnecessary business disruption.
Completing one set of projects and goals for a digital transformation to proven and measurable success is essential before building upon that work with a new transformation. While a good plan for digital transformation is key for successful and lasting change, organizations that also consider emerging technological advances for future transformations will be better positioned for leadership in their industry.
What emerging technologies should be considered for future digital transformations?
The key areas for transformation always seem to need a reboot: workforce skills and engagement, customer acquisition and retention, operations optimization, and delivery of services and products.
Emerging technologies such as blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI), and 5G are becoming more prevalent and useful in transformations as they become easier to use and more cost-effective. Many managed service providers (MSPs) already use platforms that incorporate these technologies to accelerate their services and value. Even if your organization engages an MSP, it’s important to know the difference these technologies will make for your organization should you choose to use them.
What can blockchain do for my digital transformation?
Blockchain isn’t just for cryptocurrency anymore. The decentralized nature of blockchain creates a highly secure environment for transactions. Its structure requires that transactions be sent as protected blocks to an entire network, and digital records are continuously updated in real-time across the network.
In simple terms, a blockchain is a database that is shared—or distributed—across a network of computers, and the network is constantly checking that all copies are identical. It’s difficult to change a record once it’s been added to the chain, and it’s why blockchain is the standard for sensitive monetary transactions.
While the most obvious uses for blockchain lie in the financial sector, blockchain can be used to store and validate all kinds of information.
- It can validate, store, and transfer data more securely and much faster than traditional technologies.
- It can create more transparency in any supply chain from raw materials to production to distribution and sale of products.
- It can enable an architecture that streamlines access to data, information, and applications for optimization of any processes.
There are many potential uses for blockchain due to its speed, data integrity, and security.
What can AI do for my digital transformation?
Artificial intelligence is already in use in everyday technology: facial recognition, chatbots, and personalized recommendations are just a few of the ways most of us interact with AI regularly. It’s easy to confuse AI with automation, but the major difference is that AI simulates human thought processes. In contrast, automation is a set of pre-determined rules or programs to follow without human intervention. AI can learn, and automation must be defined and developed.
Digital transformations can benefit from AI-powered technology to get ahead of their competition.
- AI automation uses machine and deep learning to adjust to incoming data as it learns and over time increases speed, efficiency, and flexibility of systems.
- Data analytics that use AI and machine learning to combine social, historical, and behavioral data can increase customer engagement as platforms learn to adjust content to each profile.
- AI can allow businesses to detect areas for opportunities and generate predictions about industries, markets, competitors, and potential customers.
The processes that AI and machine learning can enable for more efficient data analysis and actions to take based on those discoveries are practically endless.
What can 5G do for my digital transformation?
The high speed and low latency of 5G (fifth generation wireless technology) allows for the transmission of huge volumes of data more efficiently than ever before. As it emerged, 5G received now debunked claims of radiation safety concerns. Now, however, connection to 5G is allowing the continuing, exponential growth in the number of internet-enabled devices to easily connect to the internet on Internet of Things (IoT) networks.
Smart capabilities are the biggest reason to consider 5G for any transformation. It can enhance many processes in many industries—connected shopping to smart agriculture. Its transmission rates will become more necessary to process data effectively as we continue to generate massive amounts of it.
The sheer speed of 5G will enable new ways to experience the world, conduct business, and optimize processes.
- 5G enables wearable devices that lack storage to sync to bigger devices or to a cloud.
- Cloud computing will be able to fully capitalize on augmented reality (AR) through an AR cloud.
- 5G reduces the bandwidth needed and frees organizations to better leverage the cloud.
The next wave of technology innovations, from autonomous vehicles to telemedicine, will depend on 5G.
Start your transformation journey
If you’re wondering where to start, our strategy and roadmap services or professional services for transformation governance can help. For more operations and digital transformation support, read the other blogs in this series: